Brandon T. Gass

Brandon T. Gass

Studying Philosophy and English Literature at New Mexico State University. Film and Philosophy are my vocations.

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    Latest Topics

    6

    Why Do People Not Like To Read Anymore?

    Why is it that people find it so difficult and unsavory to read? Very few people actually enjoy and take it upon themselves to read anything from literature, modern works, the news, or frankly anything that consists of many words that require analytical thought to understand. Has this become too much for people? Literacy should never be compromised.

    • Who are these people?! And also what makes you think we read less? I guess I don't know either way, but do you have some statistics saying that book sales are lower? Or libraries are empty? I know print is going away, but I think people still read news on line. Or read magazines. – Tatijana 2 years ago
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    • I can personally vouch for some of your sentiments. Despite my best intentions, it takes a lot of personal coaxing to get myself to sit down and read instead of doing something else. Because when I like to relax, I like to use my eyes and my hands or my ears rather than sit in the same position letting my eyes roll over a page. Although to be honest, I've had this inkling lately that I would get much more satisfaction from reading a book than watching a film, because often, the stories in some of the books I remember enjoying in the past were more engaging and dynamic than a lot of the films I enjoy. So I have plenty of reason to return to reading books. I just don't find myself doing it much, if at all, on a day to day, week to week, and month to month basis. I DO, however, read plenty of articles and stuff online, including here on the Artifice. It's just when it comes to books, especially thick or heavy ones, I have less of a tendency to pick one up. – Jonathan Leiter 2 years ago
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    • I think you would find it very difficult to argue that no-one reads when they would have to read your article to see your argument..? It could certainly be said that people's reading habits have changed: Online content tends to have shorter paragraphs to keep attention; short stories and poetry are starting to be more popular again because they can more easily be devoured in a short amount of time; if you really wanted to argue that people don't read at all, you could potentially look at the re-emergence of spoken-word poetry (such as Polarbear or Kate Tempest) and how people are listening to poetry because of podcasts, commutes etc. rather than buying poetry books and reading them (this can be proven with the poetry book sales vrs views on youtube etc. for said artists.) – Francesca Turauskis 2 years ago
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    • If you Google "people reading less" like I did, you may find more concrete examples to support the topic, as others have suggested. In an October 2015 study, to paraphrase, American people in general read less, but women and young adults read the most. I'd be curious to see why that is. Here's a link: http://electricliterature.com/survey-shows-americans-are-reading-less-but-women-and-young-people-read-the-most/ – emilydeibler 2 years ago
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    • This is very interesting. I would like to see some psychological articles interact with this reading into our culture, and possibly the implications of the dominance of social media. – emilyinmannyc 2 years ago
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    • Others above have questioned the general statement about 'people not liking reading'. But could it be asked, "What has happened to society's attention span?" Someone once said he reads the first paragraph of a book and if it doesn't interest him, he moves on. Really? I also heard someone say they won't watch any movie from the 70's or before because they are too slow. Where is the public's patience? I attended a lecture by a successful screenwriter and he said there is a golden rule in the biz that no one camera shot lasts longer than 8 seconds. I didn't believe him until I started counting at the movie theater and sure enough, the camera changes every 8 seconds. Does the 'fast' changes of camera shots, the high paced video games and instant chat of texting influence our attention span? Are we no longer satisfied with Fast Food and now demand Faster Food? This could be a relevant take on the subject. - Dr. T – DrTestani 1 year ago
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    • I this topic could be taken in the direction that people don't read as much as they used to. To support this idea, things such as the decline in business success of bookstores, or the rise of flash fiction as a popular form of literature can be examined. Is it that people no longer like to read, or that they would rather pull up a piece of flash fiction on their phone rather than lug a copy of Anna Karenina around with them? – MichelleAjodah 1 year ago
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    • I have to question such an absolute statement as literacy should never be compromised. I am not sure if you mean literary appreciation, which I definitely think can and should be compromised. I think that literacy is irrelevant and a completely different issue than what you are discussing before. Whether or not one can read does not mean that they will want to read, and I think that the causes for someone being illiterate are different for those who are less passionate to read. Anyway, I think this is an interesting topic, but the writer needs to have a wider view of the media landscape than saying that something should not be compromised. Perhaps, look at some of the benefits/harms of straying from normal reading activity, the changes in how people consume literature, and definitely why these changes have occurred, and perhaps where we are moving towards, whether it be some post-physical or post-social landscape of reading, or so on. – Matthew Sims 1 year ago
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    • I think this could also discuss increasing visual and other literacies that have taken primacy in a more visual culture. "Reading" itself has changed, and is no longer viewed as one person interacting with a text -> an author -> an idea, in a vacuum. Instead, reading has social elements (Oprah's bookclub, for example) and there are other motivations to read instead of just for literary learning. – belindahuang18 5 months ago
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    • I think this should also cover the use of audio and e-books which have seemed to replace "regular" reading. Are people possibly just getting too lazy to pick up a book or are they too busy to sit down and read? – kspart 5 months ago
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    • Something should be said about the new culture we live in when it comes to books. There is a reason why the argument on 'if we need libraries any more' even exist, or why Borders went out of business? I don't necessarily think people aren't reading anymore I just think how people are reading is changing... – cousinsa2 5 months ago
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    • I understand where you're coming from, but I also believe that, as technology continues to advance, people tend to read in a different setting or capacity. It's not necessarily that people are reading any less or are straying away from it as a whole, it just varies from person to person, what technologies they immerse themselves in, how it affects their time/motivation to read, etc. – caitlynmorral 5 months ago
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    • This could easily be an interesting article to explore with some substantial evidence. Instead of going in with the assumption that nobody reads anymore, try focusing more on the how; how people read. It's ridiculous to assume nobody reads, it's not to assume that people read differently than traditionally thought. – Shipwright 5 months ago
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    • You can even investigate how children's literacy today is compared to that of those in the 20th century. – BMartin43 3 months ago
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    • Perhaps you could tailor this to ask the following question: Why do people not like to read physical forms of literature. How has the digital age affected readership? – kraussndhouse 2 months ago
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    • I actually wrote a similar blog on this topic. Here is the blog in full:It’s a common point of conversation in bookworm circles, ‘Nobody reads anymore!’ Similar threads can be picked up from the floors of bookstores, the foyers of creative writing seminars and workshops… I think we need to be more specific. This hyperbole is doing nobody any favours.If I were to take this phrase literally, ‘Nobody reads anymore!’ Well Charlie, I would call you a flat out liar with ya butt in the air in ya head in the sand. Because people do still read – hell – maybe more than ever! People these days fill the small gaps of their lives with words. When they’re waiting inline, at the doctor’s office, at the servo, on the loo and even when their having coffee with a friend. People are reading their FaceBook feeds, tweets, Instagram posts, blog posts, reviews and articles, maybe even some news!I would say that we are reading more than ever. People who don’t even like reading are now forced (heh-heh-heh) to read more thanks to our nifty, portable, mini-computers.Maybe it would be more accurate to say that no one reads novels anymore? But that too feels a bit lofty. Obviously there’s enough statistical data to support this, and I’m sure I could research it and rehash here but a) I don’t want to research it and b) I’m sure you don’t want to read about it.What I do know is that the people in my life who love books, love books.Passionately. Intensely. Desperately.Their eyes dance when they start talking about their latest read, there’s always a paperback in their bag and with twenty (+) unread books on the shelf at home, they still emerge from their local with fresh pressed purchases pinned to their chest. Perhaps our gang is shrinking, but I tell ya, the loyalty is fierce.Where there are readers, there are writers. One invariably leads to the other. My masters course, the first for the university, anticipated ten students. Twenty-two hopeful Poe’s made the grade. Brandon Sanderson (Sci-fi/fantasy writer) teacher’s creative writing at BYU to a packed class every year, many students who want to participate in his course are turned away because, well, there’s only so many seats. The upswing of that however, is someone videoed all the lectures and you can find them here. You’re welcome.I might be pulling my rope a little tight here but stick with me. Have you noticed all the book that have been turned into movies lately? Someone out there in Hollywood is still reading, and he’s making a neat mint off it too.I know it’s a bit of a bleak wasteland out there. Publishing houses are shrinking. Amazon. Self-publishing. Declining rates. Gasp! There is a wee spark though and it is this, books aren’t going away. Maybe things will change but what doesn’t?Read on bookworms, and I’ll see you down at the local, where we can split a chai and talk about ‘kids these days.’ – taraeast88 2 months ago
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    5

    Absurdism 101: Albert Camus' Philosophy

    Albert Camus is one of the fathers of Absurdist philosophy and one of the greatest writers of all time; his philosophical works The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel have defined his ideas, while his novels such as The Stranger and The Plague have actualized them. Examine and breakdown the fundamentals of absurdism.

    • I get the desire to discuss Camus (as he's one of my favourite writers as well), but this retrospective of his life and works doesn't seem overly suitable to the here and now. I could maybe understand it if he had died recently - you may have noticed that one of our fellow contributors did so when Elie Wiesel passed, but the article has been pending for so long that it'll be hardly still relevant by the time its published, and Wiesel died 56 years AFTER Camus - but I cannot imagine anything in this article that could not be found in his many biographies or critical studies of his work. I'm not rejecting this, but I won't approve it either. – ProtoCanon 11 months ago
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    • Could Campus work be linked to a more current theme in media? I will leave it up to you Camus experts to make a more relevant link. – Munjeera 11 months ago
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    • What might be interesting is to compare Sartre with Camus.Many had mistakenly grouped Camus as an existentialist, most consistently, with the ideological thogouht processes of Sartre. Ironically, they were very good friends, but due to their ideological differences--Sartre is an existentialist--they ended up having an epic feud that ended their friendship. In a bittersweet form of a forgiveness, Sartre wrote a tribute to Camus after his death. – danielle577 11 months ago
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    • The challenge here, with such a broad topic, is to write it succinctly, but I agree with TKing that it's relevant today. – Tigey 11 months ago
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    • The issue isn't that it's not "relevant" -- I only brought up relevance because it was a facet of why this topic struck me as unsuitable for the Artifice -- but rather that scores of books have been written on precisely this topic. Even to narrow the subject matter to something more succinct would just be to focus on one chapter of those many books. For example's sake, Danielle's suggestion to compare Sartre and Camus, in addition to being something that is thoroughly discussed in every biography of either of them, is already the subject of a fantastic book (Camus & Satre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It, by Ronald Aronson) from 2004, which has subsequently been followed by a whole slew of other articles (http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/camus-and-sartre-friendship-troubled-by-ideological-feud-a-931969.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-j-stone/albert-vs-jeanpaul-why-ca_b_7699530.html, etc) and even another book (The Boxer and the Goal Keeper: Sartre Versus Camus, by Andy Martin).My response to anyone who chooses to write this article is this: "Why should I read this article when I can just read the book (which, let's be honest, is undoubtedly better written and more thoroughly research)? What can you add that hasn't been stated already?" I really don't see the point in regurgitating other peoples' research, simply because it has yet to be done on this specific online platform. We should be striving for originality, critical thought, and sparking debate via new contributions (to topics old and new alike). – ProtoCanon 11 months ago
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    • True, protocannon, it's been done, but has it been exhausted? I trust your judgment on that, but won't squelch someone's attempt to find a "new wrinkle." – Tigey 10 months ago
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    • I'd argue that it's been exhausted beyond the point to which it merit's Artifice-level discussion. Maybe a "new wrinkle" can be found, to the extent that discovering previously unstudied letters or dairies of Camus would warrant writing a new or revised biography, but if such a discovery were made, it would belong in a genuine academic journal. And there are no lack of those to which it would appropriately correspond, most centrally in The Journal of Camus Studies (http://www.camus-society.com/camus-society-journal.html), or more broadly in relevant philosophically-leaning periodicals like PhaenEx (http://phaenex.uwindsor.ca/ojs/leddy/index.php/phaenex), The Reed (http://pages.stolaf.edu/thereed/), or Existential Analysis (http://existentialanalysis.org.uk/journal/) to French literary and cultural journals like French Cultural Studies (http://frc.sagepub.com/) or the Journal of French Language Studies (http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JFL). As much as we love the Artifice, it's not really the best platform for great strides in research; it's better suited for discussing why the time loop ended in Groundhog Day. – ProtoCanon 10 months ago
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    • Makes sense. Thanks for your insight, ProtoCanon.. – Tigey 10 months ago
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    3

    Existential Themes in The Office

    An in-depth analysis of the popular TV show The Office and how it rises above mere entertainment to become a genuine, nihilistic examination of everyday American office workers and the meaning they can find in their cyclical lives.

    • Don't forget, The Office originally started out as a British TV show, established by comedian Ricky Gervais. However, I think comparing how successful the American Office and how it became so much more popular than The Office UK.It's probably also worth exploring the style of The Office (fictional reality) and the clever use of a 'mock-umnetary' style of filming. Good luck! – Abby Wilson 9 months ago
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    • (agreed about the British Office thing mentioned above) but also, amazing idea! The office is a depiction of American office workers, but also of the personalities we all know. Dwight, Michael and Jim etc all represent experiences we have all had and understand. Perhaps approach this from the standpoint of what the characters mean to the viewer, how the personality types were created to be familiar and recognizable. The show offers a narrative not only on the office environment, but on the mindset of general America, and the way the countries citizens have been socialized to behave. – JoshuaStrydom 8 months ago
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    Violence Vs. Sex in Movies

    General American movie-goers tend to object to sexual content in films as being inappropriate or pointless ("Why do we need to see it?") but conversely don’t object to violence and gore. Is it not more vulgar to watch people get murdered or tortured even rather than to see a little bit of intimacy on screen? Dissect examples of popular films and their appeal to either violence or sex, and the audience’s response.

    • This is certainly worth investigating. In grade 12, I recall taking an introductory film studies course, and the teacher told us that he was allowed to choose films with excessive violence, but not with sex. It's really strange, since violence is something that we (ideally) shouldn't partake in, and sex is something fun, natural, and will be a part of nearly everyone in that room's life at some point (by grade 12, it was a part of many of the students' lives already). Even more surprisingly, in that class we watched three films with rape scenes - Rashomon, Deliverance, and Boys Don't Cry, all of which somehow managed to somehow slip past the sex radar - which is, by definition, a mix of sex and violence. I think it has to do with a large element of Conservativism which is still very present in our seemingly Liberal society. Sex is "bad" because its "sinful" and "corrupting," but violence is "okay" because "sometimes its necessary" and "the ends justify the means." – ProtoCanon 11 months ago
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    • It not only happens in the motion picture but in the TV. After watching Game of Thrones or James Wan's movies, I ponder whether the excessive violence or the sexual content is compulsory to the movies or the tv nowadays. One of the reasons why popular films love brutal or crazy sex scene is related to the transformation of the entertainment industry. It is more open-minded and allows those disturbing concepts in the movie and tv productions. Few decades ago, the idea barely appears in the featured films or TV but rather in B-movies. – moonyuet 11 months ago
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    • Also, just remembered this: http://hannibalfannibals.com/2015/07/18/hannibal-and-the-hypocrisy-of-censorship/ – ProtoCanon 11 months ago
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    • I guess it is hypocritical but as a parent I regularly watch movies with all kinds of violence like Civil War and even talk about the "airport battle.". But truth is I wouldn't be comfortable watching any intimate scenes with my kids, even though they are 23 and 13. This would be a good topic because it is something I have never thought twice about. – Munjeera 11 months ago
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    • Dermis is dirty, but subdermis is okay. – Tigey 10 months ago
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    • A lot of it has to do with religion, and how it depicts the sexual being. In countries that are far less religious, you don't see this uncomfortable reaction to sex on the screen. When groups are indoctrinated at a young age and told essentially that sex is sin, you can see how when they become adults, that negative reaction is still there. – MikeySheff 7 months ago
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    9

    On New Queer Cinema

    The film movement New Queer Cinema was meant to describe independent films of the 1990s that helped bring queer narratives to the screen. This article would review the history, importance, and films of the movement.

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      The Failure of Suicide Squad

      With the latest bunt in the cinematic superhero world, Suicide Squad, it has become clear that critics are collective tired of the ringtone narrative that nearly all superhero films cradle. Suicide Squad specifically, held the concept of ‘fight fire with fire,’ which obviously entails that things won’t work out. Examine the failures of Suicide Squad as a whole and what it might take (if possible) to have another good superhero film like The Dark Knight.

      • It was choppy, boring, and had absolutely no clear direction. Millions of dollars wasted – Riccio 11 months ago
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      • I hate to be smug, no really I do, but it is DC and not Marvel. – Munjeera 11 months ago
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      • The critics are really harsh on this movie. I believe that a labeling theory within "criminals as heroes" is a reason why the movie gets many rotten tomatoes. The initial idea is unhealthy and logically bizarre, thereby the hate speech from movie experts. – moonyuet 11 months ago
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      The Best Sequels of All Time

      While it is common for the second film in a series to ruin the franchise, many of them MAKE the franchise; such is the case with Kill Bill and The Dark Knight Trilogy. Perhaps these films’ sequels were so monumental because they were planned out to take place over three films or two films, rather than the corporate industry suits just wanting to force, say, another Iron Man onto the screen to make more money. These turn into hollow films.

      • Maybe add some specifity, such as, what is it exactly that makes these sequels so integral to 'make' or 'break' a series? Is there a common theme that you're looking for between all successful/popular series?If not, it would definitely be easier to choose one series (eg. The Dark Knight trilogy) and pick apart each film to understand why the whole series is better than each movie alone. – Suman 11 months ago
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      • prolly ought to throw empire strikes back in there, too. – Richard Marcil 11 months ago
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      • I think of Harry Potter, though some might be shaking their heads, as each future installment was just as good, if not better.As for the Godfather...maybe we shouldn't say trilogy, as the 3rd installment was so horrific and a horrible note to end such a powerful cinematic experience. With that being said, The Godfather II, was phenomenal and better than the 1st.Interestingly,yet on a separate note, the book, The Godfather, is horrible and reads much like a soap opera. I took a course called film and literature, where books were compared to the films, and this was the only book that was far inferior to the film. – danielle577 11 months ago
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      • "Amen" to the Godfather sequel. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek): "There was a third Godfather movie?" I've never seen the third one, but went to happy hour with a friend who explained a particularly horrible scene from the third one. According to him, Pacino is a yeller and Garcia is a whisperer (or vice-versa, it's been a while). I had to ask why that was bad, so he acted out both parts while humors poured from my eyes. Someday I'll watch it for another laugh. The second one, though, I watch for the romance of the gorgeous scenes in Italy, his beautiful Italian wife, and the explanation of Vito's motivation. "Citizen" who? – Tigey 11 months ago
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      • It may be worth distinguishing that some sequels aren't appreciated because they're shoved down our throats in that (lucrative) format i.e. The hobbit into three. Whereas the ones that can legitimately claim to further a bigger narrative, and are sanctioned through genuine demand tend to cause less upset.I think it's a terribly insular trend however, who needs another Ice Age?? It would be interesting to cover some of the studio politics in how these films subsidise a decline in movie going, so they attempt to reel you back with stories/characters you know well rather than risk new/interesting films that won't take as much as a superhero film.It would be good to include a European example of a trilogy like the Three Colours films, where they are unified by theme not character or narrative. The European tradition of a trilogy tends to work much more allusively, and I would argue offer a lot more than the Hollywood style which tends to just give our favourites more screen time. – JamieMadden 11 months ago
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      • Please include Terminator 2 as one of the best sequels of all time. BTW using the phrase "of all time" just reminds me of Kanye. – Munjeera 11 months ago
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      • Just a general note that this topic seems too subjective and broad. Also specify if these are film sequels or book sequels in the title. – rowenachandler 10 months ago
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      The filmic sisterhood of Jurassic World and Kong: Skull Island

      Just from the new Kong: Skull Island, much can be asserted about the aesthetic and narrative relationship between Kong and Jurassic World. Both films are enormous block-buster snowball movies filled with star-studded casts thrown in disaster scenarios of utter peril and outrageous visual effects. A parallel/examination of the two movies and what they say about the state of hollywood would be highly relevant.

      • While I expanded on the concept, I don't, however, feel that I need to "guide" the person who might take the topic. I shouldn't have to hold another writer's hand, and I don't think they'd want me to. – luminousgloom 11 months ago
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      • Why just those two movies? Based on the similarities listed, you could substitute either out for Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. What in particular about the Kong: Skull Island trailer makes you think first and foremost of Jurassic World? – chrischan 11 months ago
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      Latest Comments

      Brandon T. Gass

      Enlightening article!

      Lost in Hyperreality: Entering The Museum of Tolerance
      Brandon T. Gass

      Nice, relevant, and helpful mini-treatise.

      Using Zen Philosophy to Improve Creativity and Overcome Writer’s Block
      Brandon T. Gass

      Interesting examination of classic epic poetry.

      Paradise Lost: A Shift in Narrative Language After the Fall
      Brandon T. Gass

      Perhaps The Social Network would also fit nicely in this list.

      The 21st Century Films Prepared For Classic Status
      Brandon T. Gass

      Great article — Breaking Bad was full of artistic creativity and depth.

      Objects in Breaking Bad: If Things Could Talk
      Brandon T. Gass

      Nietzsche was a brilliant philologist and philosopher. His pioneering of the philosophical doctrine nihilism and his idea of eternal return also played interesting roles in his thought.

      The Death of a Purposeful Man
      Brandon T. Gass

      While I usually loathe superhero movies, they do tend to have interesting ethical and philosophical undertones to the nature of the hero and his/her circumstances.

      Superhero Villains and their Struggle with Morality
      Brandon T. Gass

      Snowpiercer was a surprisingly good indie film and Chris Evan’s best work to date.

      Snowpiercer and Social Revolution